Flex-workers who continue to learn have most job security

Employees with a flexible working relationship who continue to develop on the job, for example by taking courses or performing instructive work, more often keep their jobs and are less often without work. This applies to all types of flexible work, according to a study by Statistics Netherlands and Maastricht University.

The researchers looked into flex workers and their job security - the extent to which flex workers work for the same employer for a longer period, and the extent to which flex workers succeed in quickly finding other work should they lose their job. They followed the careers of flexible workers between the ages of 25 and 60 for a period of 39 months between 2011 and 2014. 

They found that a third of all flexible employees stayed with the same employer for the entire period. About a quarter switched employers once with few or no periods without work. And 15 percent changed employers multiple times and occasionally experienced periods without work.

The figures showed that learning opportunities at work - including taking courses or company training courses, and experience employees gain by performing new and challenging tasks -  are important for job security. Flexible employees with many learning opportunities had 12 percent more chance of staying at the same employer for the entire study period than their counterparts that didn't, regardless of what type of flexible work they were doing. Though the stats office added that a factor in this may be that employers are more inclined to offer learning opportunities to flexible workers they intend to keep on than those they don't. 

Flexible employees with many learning opportunities were also more likely to find new work quickly. The probability that they would be in an unemployed situation was 6 percent smaller than for flex workers with few learning opportunities. 

Temporary employees with the prospect of permanent employment were most likely to keep their job - half of this group of flexible workers stayed at the same employer for the entire period of 39 months. Among employees with a temporary contract with no prospect of a full time one, 30 percent stayed with the same employer, among on-call workers it was 25 percent.. Temps working through employment agencies had the least chance of staying with one employer, only 8 percent did so for the entire period.